Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida routs Vanderbilt, clinches SEC

GAINESVILLE — On Monday, it was Billy Donovan's call. Wednesday night, the decision over whether to cut down the nets in traditional celebratory fashion rested solely with his Florida seniors.

So when the No. 11 Gators had secured a 66-40 win over Vanderbilt to earn their second outright SEC regular-season championship in three seasons, the seniors made the call.

"After the game he asked us what we wanted to do, and obviously we said we wanted to cut down the nets," said senior forward Erik Murphy, who had 10 points and six rebounds. "It was one of the best feelings I've ever had."

Along with senior Mike Rosario, it was Murphy and Kenny Boynton who took down the last pieces — a fitting final act in their last appearance at the O'Connell Center before a crowd of 10,504

"We just told each other we did it," said Boynton, who had a game-high 15 points. "It was a goal we set at the beginning of the season, to accomplish it, that just felt really special."

Florida (24-5, 14-3 SEC) clinched its fourth outright league title in school history, the third under Donovan. The Gators finished undefeated at home (15-0) for the second time under Donovan. UF visits Kentucky on Saturday, then the SEC tournament starts March 13.

Perhaps it was the emotions surrounding Senior Night, but the Gators seemed out of synch until midway through the second half, when a 3-pointer by Tampa's Michael Frazier with 11:38 remaining in the game gave UF a huge boost. On Florida's next possession, Boynton hit a 3-pointer that began a 13-0 run to give the Gators a 56-32 lead.

While the Gators struggled on offense, their defense was solid. The Commodores (13-16, 7-10) scored just 10 in the final 11:20 and shot 26.9 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range. They're the 12th team to fail to score 50 against UF this season.

Kendren Johnson led Vanderbilt with 15 points.

Donovan said he was thrilled for his seniors because "a lot of times on Senior Night, it doesn't quite end like that: You go undefeated at home your senior year, you clinch a conference championship outright, and you walk off the court with an opportunity to cut down the nets."

"I definitely think we've really overachieved this year, there's no question in my mind," Donovan added. "We've battled lot of injuries, and I don't think you're going to look out there and see three lottery picks. We've done it by being a good team."

Antonya English can be reached at

Florida routs Vanderbilt, clinches SEC 03/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.